Saturday, January 24, 2009
I thought of this very appropriate title yesterday after finishing 3 hard run workouts in 6 days. I told my coach that I couldn't believe what I had accomplished and he reminded me that is what I've been working towards for the past four years. Ironically, this is a week of barriers broken with the inauguration of Barack Obama. But...no politics in this blog (at least not yet).
My coach has had me doing "progression" runs. These are basically runs where my pace keeps getting faster as the run goes on. I can understand how this will help me in my races, and I'm already seeing the results in a very short time. I realized today that in the last week, I've encountered a mix of running intensity that I have never encountered in one weeks time . Never is the operative word. I looked back at the last few years and I can't find anything even close!
Last Sunday I ran 12 miles in 1:33, starting at about 8 minute pace for 5 miles, then going to about 7:30 pace for 4 miles and finishing at about 7:20 pace for 3 miles. Most of this was in Zone 3, although I still think that my HR was somewhat disconnected due to the cold weather that day. Two days later I ran 9 miles (most of it on the track), starting at over 8 minute pace and going down to 7:45 pace for two miles, then 7:10 pace for 3 miles, then attempting to get down to just under 7 minute pace, which I could only do for 800 before blowing up. Still, gave it a really good effort. Then, just two more days later I did the following on the Treadmill: 1 mile at 9 minute pace, 1 mile at 8 minute pace, then four miles at the following paces 7:10, 7:06, 6:59 and 6:51 with 1/2 mile in between each at 7:30, 8:00, 9:00 and 8:40 paces. Was trying to go a little faster in between, but had to slow down in order to survive the miles.
So, three tough workouts in 6 six days. Of note, during these 3 workouts, I spent 17% of my time in zone 1, 27% in zone 2, 36% in zone 3 and 20% in zone 4. Again, I've never done anything like this over the course of six days before. Today, I have to admit, I'm tired. But I'm also excited. Two years ago I did the Surf City Half Marathon in 1:32:25 and I hadn't done any training even close to this. If everything goes well, there is no reason that I can't break 1:30 next Sunday.
The other thing is just seeing what the human body can take. While on the treadmill two days ago, nearing the end of my last mile and trying to maintain ~8.8 mph pace, my mind and body began flagging. I really wanted to reduce the speed on the treadmill. Instead, I increased it to 8.9mph and then to 9mph, albeit briefly, before reducing it to 8.8 again. I tricked myself into being occupied by changing the speed and managed to finish the last mile at my goal pace. While there won't be any buttons to push per se in the last mile at Surf City, the concept isn't bad. Why not speed up instead of slowing down. If the body doesn't like where it's at, give it something different, it doesn't have to be slower! I think I keep finding new ways to train my brain.
I think that we can all achieve whatever we want in life. All we need is the desire to do so. We also need to learn some tricks along the way to help us break barriers. And, sometimes we don't exactly achieve our goals. That is not failure, it's part of the process. For, if we don't push ourselves above our limits, we'll never know what our limits are.